Mirizzi syndrome

Last revised by Leonardo Lustosa on 20 Oct 2022

Mirizzi syndrome refers to an uncommon phenomenon that results in extrinsic compression of an extrahepatic biliary duct from one or more calculi within the cystic duct or gallbladder. It is a functional hepatic syndrome but can often present with biliary duct dilatation and can mimic other hepatobiliary pathologies such as cholangiocarcinoma 2.

The syndrome occurs in approximately 1 in every 1000 patients with gallstones 8.

Patients may present with recurrent episodes of jaundice and cholangitis. It can be associated with acute cholecystitis

A low insertion of the cystic duct into the common bile duct as well as a tortuous cystic duct are thought to be risk factors.

Management decisions depend on the type of Mirizzi syndrome 6,9 . A few classification systems have been proposed:

  • type I: extrinsic compression of the common hepatic duct (CHD)

    • type Ia: by impacted gallstone in the gallbladder neck or cystic duct

    • type Ib: if cystic duct is absent 7

  • type II: erosion of CHD wall and formation of cholecystocholedochal fistula (up to one-third CHD wall circumference is involved)

  • type III: up to two-thirds of CHD wall circumference is involved in a cholecystocholedochal fistula

  • type IV: entire CHD wall is involved in a cholecystocholedochal fistula

  • type V: any of the above with cholecysto-enteric fistula 6

  • type I: external compression of the bile duct

  • type II: cholecystobiliary fistula

    • type IIa: less than 50% the diameter of the bile duct

    • type IIb: greater than 50% the diameter of the bile duct

  • type III: cholecystobiliary fistula and cholecystoenteric fistula

    • type IIIa: without gallstone ileus

    • type IIIb: with gallstone ileus

On ERCP, the stricture is smooth and often concave to the right ref.

The gallbladder wall may be diffusely thickened and may enhance with contrast ref.

MRCP classically shows a large impacted gallstone in the gallbladder neck or cystic duct, or signs of inflamed gallbladder causing proximal dilatation of the extra and intrahepatic biliary tree, with distal gradual tapering of the extrahepatic biliary duct caliber to the site of obstruction ref

Fistulae can develop between the gallbladder and the common duct, and the stone may pass into the common duct. 

If the stone pass into the small bowl, it can develop into gallstone ileus 6.

This syndrome was first described by Pablo Luis Mirizzi (1893-1964), an Argentinian surgeon in a paper from 1940, although 1948 is often quoted, as in this year he published a paper in which it became widely-known 4,6. Mirizzi performed the first operative cholangiogram in 1931. He was named a Master Surgeon (Cirujano Maestro) in 1956 by the Argentinian Surgeons Society (Sociedad Argentina de Cirugía) 6.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: from stone in cystic duct stump
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.